Friday, July 15, 2011

Esther, Cookies and Tea

Dear Sally,

As our study of Esther comes to a close I have been doing quite a bit of reflecting. What is it that I have taken from these nine weeks? How am I a different woman? What wisdom have I gained that I can share with others? As I was thinking about all of these things I was also baking. I honestly cannot think of a better way to end a 9 week
bible study than with food! I made my recipe with margarine so that I could eat these ones. I will warn you now that if you make the dough too thin and put too much jam in them they will not work. 
These are a great accompaniment to a cup of tea 
early in the morning while reading through the scriptures or even as a late night snack. I used grape and strawberry jam for my fillings because they were what I had in the apartment at the time. I am sure that fresh fruit tossed in a little cinnamon sugar would be just as delicious. Thank you for your unfailing friendship and love. You mean the world to me. Love, Jess

Ingredients1 Stick margerine or butter (softened)
1 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups wheat flour OR 1 cup white all-purpose flour and 1 cup wheat. (All white works well too.)

Filling: Apricot preserves, fruit butters, jam or prunes

1. Cut butter into sugar. Blend thoroughly. Add egg and blend thoroughly. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, blending thoroughly between each.
2. Put the batter in the refrigerator overnight or at least a few hours.
3. Roll it out to about 1/4-inch thickness and then cut circles with a cookie cutter or use
a drinking glass. (From Beth Moore: Make them at least 3 inches in diameter so you have room to fill and fold them over!)
4. Put a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each circle. Fold up the sides to make a tri
angle, overlapping the sides as much as possible so only a little filling shows through the middle.
5. Bake at 375 for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Light Spicy Snack

Dear Sally,

Your last blog made me salivate just reading the recipe and looking at those pictures! I can only imagine how good they tasted. In keeping with the mouthwatering burger theme I wanted to post something that I tried a couple of weeks ago when my family was visiting. It was a beautiful sunny day on Canada Day weekend and I was making lunch for five. I decided upon sweet potato fries as the side to some do-it-yourself sandwiches. I ran out of time when making this recipe and had to rush the cooking a bit but they still turned out. There is a bit of a process involved but it is totally worth it! The trick to making these fries crispy and delicious is to soak them in salt water for about 30 minutes before cooking. After they have soaked you have to dry them on a towel to ensure that all the water is off and then sprinkle on the seasoning, bake and PRESTO you have delicious spicy sweet potato fries - and healthy ones at that!


3 sweet potatoes
sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
cajun seasoning


1. Slice the sweet potatoes into fry-like pieces. Soak all the slivers in salt water for at least 30 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes and pat dry with a towel. Make sure all of the water is off then toss in olive oil, salt, pepper and cajun seasoning.
3. Bake in a 375 oven for about 35-40 minutes depending on the amount of fries and how they are spread out on a cookie sheet.
4. Let the fries cool and place in parchment cones to serve.

These fries still don't quite compare to Hot Belly Mama's but they are darn delicious. Wishing I could come by for a chat and a glass of wine!

Lots of love,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Burgers with a Spanish Flare

Dear Jess,

The summer heat has arrived. I love it. I love basking in it, running in it, doing yoga in it, swimming in it, playing in it and eating in it. All of the winter frost has been melted out of my being for the next few months. AWESOME.

As you know, the summer issue of LCBO's Food and Drink has been released. I saw it the other day when Jason and I were picking up a bottle of red wine. There it was. Sitting in great big piles on the counters by the exit door. I snatched one so fast that Jason didn't even notice until we were on our way back home. I had it out of it's wrapper and my nose stuck between the pages before he even got into the car. Again... AWESOME.

I found a few that I wanted to try, but like every year I figured it would be pushed into the corner of someone's living room and forgotten. I made a decision to forbid that from happening! So when Rachel, Jason and I were sitting around on a Sunday night wondering what to have for dinner, I knew it was time.

Out came the magazine, one post-it and a pen. One short list and a quick trip to the grocery store gave us all the ingredients we needed. Half an hour later we were pigging out on the best burger any of us have ever tasted so far. Please, make these burgers at least once before you die. They are not the cheapest to make, but holy moly is it worth it.

The Olé Burger
4 thin slices of serrano ham (we used black forest ham)

Saffron Mayo
1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads
1 tbsp warm water
1/2 cup mayonnaise

3/4 lb uncured (raw) chorizo sausage
3/4lb ground pork or chicken (we used chicken)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper
3oz (90g) Manchego cheese, thinly sliced
4 onion buns (we used one-buns)
washed and dried Boston lettuce leaves (we used spinach)
2/3 cups drained sliced roasted peppers

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Lay ham slices in a single layer on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Place a second piece of parchment paper over ham and top with a second baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until ham is crisp. Let cool on a wire rack set over a plate.
3. In a medium bowl, sprinkle saffron over warm water. Let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in mayonnaise until well combined.
4. Slit sausage skins and crumble sausage meat into a large bowl. Add ground pork, parsley, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper, and mix gently but thoroughly until well combined. Form sausage mixture into 4 even-size patties about 1/2 inch thick. With the heel of your hand, make an indentation in centre of each patty (this helps burgers cook more evenly).
5. Preheat barbecue to medium.
6. Cook patties on well-oiled grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Just before burgers are ready, top each burger with one-quarter of Mancego cheese. Split onion buns in half horizontally and toast, cut-side down, until golden.
7. Spread bottom halves of buns with saffron mayo. Top with Boston lettuce leaves. Add a burger to each bun, along with roasted peppers and a slice of serrano ham. Replace tops of buns.

Things are slowly getting checked off my list of things that need to be completed this summer. Though there are so many more to do, I am confident it will all be wonderful.

I love you and miss you,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spicy Falafels

Dear Jess,

Today is the first overcast day all week. The sunny days have been delightful. It was a bonus to have the long weekend full of them. Try not to get jealous... but I got to relax by my pool with a stack of novels aaaaall weekend. (Except for my short shift of cleaning on Saturday morning.)

This recipe I have wanted to try for a while. It said it was to take only 20 minutes, so when Jason and I were super hungry and tired I decided to throw it together.

The main problem I had with this one was that the patties didn't stay together. The recipe said to mush the chickpeas with a potato-masher and/or fork until they were completely broken down. This is impossible. I got them as broken down as I could, but it just wasn't enough. I was afraid if I put them in a blender or food processor they would turn into hummus. Long story short, the patties turned into a scramble. A tasty scramble, but a scramble none-the-less.

That being said, it was yummy, filling, cheap, and perfect for a hot summer evening. We stuffed them in whole wheat pitas with spinach, red peppers, and tomatoes. Next time it would be worth whipping up a batch of some sort of spicy mayo or guacamole!

Spicy Falafels
adapted from this recipe
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
400g can chickpeas, washed and drained
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 egg

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan. Fry the onion and garlic over low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Tip into a large mixing bowl with the chickpeas and spices, then mash together with fork or potato masher until the chickpeas are totally broken down. Stir in basil and oregano. Add the egg, then squish the mixture together with your hands.
2. Mould the mix into 6 balls, then flatten into patties. Heat the remaining oil in the pan, then fry the falafels on medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. (Until golden brown and firm.) Serve hot or cold with couscous, pita bread or salad.

I miss you a great deal. I can't wait to see you in a couple weeks.

I Love You,